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back to article Fire danger as iOS mislocates towns, again

The failings of Apple Maps are in the spotlight again, after an app that uses the service fell foul of its infamous inability to find decent-sized towns. Here’s the background: the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in the Australian state of Victoria decided it needed an app as a two-way channel between itself and citizens travelling …

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Megaphone

Re: your question:

>

So: why on Earth use a place-name lookup on someone else’s map service to reproduce the information?

<

Because: "Apple. Hurhur. IPhone. Apple IPhone.Hurhurhur. Urg. Hurhur. Yeah. IPhone"

Because everything, EVERYTHING, has to be an IPhone app or be compatible with an IPhone these days.

Want to buy a torch to walk the dog? "Will it* work with my IPhone?"

"I want a kettle, but it has to have a Lightning connector."

"I was told to buy an 'AirPort', so that I wouldn't have any problems when I buy an IPhone in the future"

"I'm sure there's an app in the Apple AppStore to jumpstart my flat car over bluetooth."

The force of persuasion that the malic logo makes a product peerless is strong.

* Not sure if the dog or the torch . . .

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Re: your question:

Leaving aside for the sake of charity your rather Pavlovian response to the hated name, I would note that it's entirely possible to build a website that's a thin wrapper around Google Maps, and which behaves in most respects similarly to a native app on iOS devices. No doubt it's quite feasible to do the same for Android. Cheaper, too, so why the hell didn't someone in their IT department have the wit to suggest it as a much more sensible alternative? And failing that, why not just produce an app that's itself a thin wrapper around Google Maps? Many have done so, including Google themselves; their version is called "Google Maps", and it works quite nicely.

My suspicion is that someone on the IT staff wanted to learn Xcode and Objective-C, and thought this would be a good way to get paid for it into the bargain. Wonder how that's working out for him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: your question:

>I would note that it's entirely possible to build a website that's a thin wrapper around Google Maps, and which behaves in most respects similarly to a native app on iOS devices. No doubt it's quite feasible to do the same for Android. Cheaper, too, so why the hell didn't someone in their IT department have the wit to suggest it as a much more sensible alternative?

Didn't you just answer your own question?... "Cheaper"

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Thumb Up

@ Aaron Em - Re: your question:

You are taking me far too serious, which might be due to the lack of a "joke" icon before the post. I apologise, and promise to try not to drool on the bell again.

But, on a rather more serious theme, you ask why they didn't make a website, or a thin wrapper. I have my theory, and I think it's not funny. The boss says "make us an app for that", and the PFY goes and does that; and does not argue. Why? Because bootlicking gets you further faster than telling your boss than you know better than he does.

<humorous> Unless, of course, you have an enhanced cattle prod.</humorous>

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Bronze badge

Re: "I'm sure there's an app in the Apple AppStore to jumpstart my flat car over bluetooth."

Tell that to Tesla (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/12/tesla_vs_media_again/). They might be interested.

</snicker>

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Linux

Re: your question:

I am actually channeling Winston and the entire British war dept, and what Winnie is telling me is to go back to great big maps, with little models of fires and wimmins with nice bums to lean over the tables and poke a stick to the offending combusticus, and move it across the table.

Then simply email all the people the position of the hun fires, in longtitude, lattitude and speed and direction, to all the people who bloody well should know how to read maps, and have them stuck up on their living room walls.

They can circle the bit, "We are here" and stick pins in to show the width and direction of the relevant fire fronts.

While the intergnetts is good, real paper, pins and pencils have certain specific advantages.

Anyway - speaking of failure rates...

Out of almost all, of the mapping inquiries ever made, with iapple's imapps, how many of them are actually accurate enough,and some of them are "in the drink" and 2000 meters off the coast line?

Linux - just because I despise the ungay iapple iculture.

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Alert

Meanwhile Google maps send murderer to the wrong house.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/google-earth-error-murder_n_2664042.html

All maps have errors.

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That must be

the thinnest tissue of excuses I've ever laid eyes on. "My dog ate it" is a paragon of credibility by comparison.

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Silver badge
FAIL

"Meanwhile Google maps send murderer to the wrong house."

Google maps can't find right house. Apple maps can't find entire towns.

Who do you trust more?

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Silver badge
FAIL

>"Meanwhile Google maps send murderer to the wrong house."

You butchered the data from TFA pretty badly there. 'Twasn't Google maps, and the person convicted of murder by a jury (i.e. the "murderer" in a legal sense) lived in the house, and so wouldn't have needed directions.

However, what you could have said was that at least one news outlet believes that a Google Earth mislabeling of the house might point to a different person being the killer.

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Trollface

"Who do you trust more?"

Neither frankly! If you trust Google with anything, you need your head examining.

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Mushroom

Apple - Arse - Elbow.

The Apple fanbois will be out in force defending the indefensible - get over it apple Maps sucks. Google Maps may well have the odd glitch but then Ordnance Survey maps also have the odd error.

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Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow.

Apple Maps could be better, sure. So far, though, the only place where it's really a problem seems to be Australia, and mostly the arse end of Australia at that. This being the case, moderation seems rather more in order than promptly chucking my phone in a wood chipper, in favor of whatever platform you happen to prefer, but I appreciate not everyone will agree with such a radical reaction as mine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow. (@Aaron Em)

You're right. I don't agree. I happen to live in the arse end of Australia.

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Coat

Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow.

Does that also mean there's an elbow end of Australia as well, and the two get mixed up a lot?

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Thumb Down

Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow.

Just Australia my arse.

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FAIL

Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow. (@Aaron Em)

So don't use an iPhone then you muppet. It's not as if owning one is a requirement of law. It's not as if Google's offering is significantly better in that part of the world either.

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Trollface

Re: Apple - Arse - Elbow.

You really are quite the "intellectual". No, sorry, I meant clown. Apologies.

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Silver badge

Well

The Reg's maps must be well off if they think Mount Isa is in Victoria....

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Flame

Android app uses Google Maps

Well it has "Google" written on the bototm left corner of the map.

And if you click on the flame icon on the map it will tell you the location name if you really want to check.

I suspect the glitch is not Apple Maps anyway, just a convenient scapegoat.

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Bronze badge
Flame

Appitis

> The Register would like to frame the question differently: why did FireReady have to be an app at all?

That applies to most apps out there. Any app that just pulls out some information from the net and displays it could just as well be a web site. I guess this "appitis" has more to do with enabling the infomation provider to have more control over their users, than any benefit for the users. This is especially true for those apps that newspapers and magazines distribute for getting access to their contents. Easier to enforce paywalls.

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Why an app?

"The Register would like to frame the question differently: why did FireReady have to be an app at all?"

Push notifications of fires in the local vicinity? Just a guess...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why an app?

""The Register would like to frame the question differently: why did FireReady have to be an app at all?""

Because the sheeple must have one to justify their poor tech choices.

When droid has the largest market share, surely writing for droid first would make more sense?

Not that most human beings have any.

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Thumb Down

Re: Why an app?

"Because the sheeple must have one to justify their poor tech choices.

When droid has the largest market share, surely writing for droid first would make more sense?

Not that most human beings have any."

So in answer to El Reg's question as to why it has to be an app you respond by arguing that it should be a 'droid app rather than an iOS app? Excellent logic sir!

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Bronze badge

@ed2020 Re: Why an app?

As for why they needed an app, why doesn't the Register ask itself that? It seems to be less complex a site than the CFAs website but still warrants an app, for pretty much just text.

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Silver badge

Re: Why an app?

There would of course be other factors in determining which smartphone to write for... How often maps are used, version control of the base OS, and difficulty in developing for the platform.

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Gimp

Re: Why an app?

"When droid has the largest market share, surely writing for droid first would make more sense?"

Not really. iSheep are more likely to get burnt to death due to their own stupidity and such need an app to keep them safe. Why having them burn to death is a bad thing, I don't know...

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Meh

Disagree

You question why it's necessary to have this as an app.

Well, it's necessary in order to get people to use it. It's a 2-way app, which in effect is crowdsourcing. And as any review or feedback-based website knows, if your app isn't absolutely gorgeous and easy to use, then people won't bother.

If the CFA HADN'T launched a fully native app, everyone would have been lamenting about their antiquated methods, that everyone uses open APIs and google maps, and an open request that someone launch it as an app in place of the website.

I suspect that when they did, everything was fine and dandy. Then when Apple launched IOS 6, every native map-based app switched from Google Maps to Apple maps, and like this, suffered. Most devs have now updated their apps following the launch of Google's native maps app to use Google's iOS API, but as opposed to the consumer-driven apps that live and die by App Store ratings, many Government apps like this one that were part of a fixed project Lifecycle, will remain un-updated for a while.

Culpa Apple, methinks. They fundamentally change the world's usage of, well, mobile, data, and the Internet - base every location-related on Google Maps, and then break the model. I forget the film, but to paraphrase an Alan Arkin character "it's impossible to conceive how they could have f****ed up more!".

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Anonymous Coward

Dear People of Australia

Fire is hot and may burn! - I think it's best avoided.

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